Twenty-nine states told NPR they have hired more contact tracers to meet rising demand, and 20 said they would hire more soon. But none of the states that responded with updated contact tracing staff numbers currently has enough staff to keep up with case numbers.
The analysis, based on state case counts over the past 14 days, was done using an estimating tool developed by the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at the George Washington University. As in June, August and October, NPR assumed workers are calling 10 contacts per case and that tracers reach 45% of contacts and follow up with them every other day — a conservative estimate, to reflect the real-world challenges health workers face. Read full article.
Ed Salsberg was recently featured in this Nature article by Dyani Lewis where he discusses how a national or regional health workers could service different communities and bolster contact tracing efforts as COVID-19 hotspots occur.
When Ebola ripped through communities in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, Tolbert Nyenswah saw at first hand how health workers extinguished the epidemic by finding and quarantining contacts of those who caught the disease. The former director of Liberia’s public-health institute thought contact-tracers would again rise to the challenge this year, keeping COVID-19 in check as it swept the globe. “Contact-tracing is one of the greatest tools that countries should deploy and use effectively to contain the outbreak,” he says.
But nine months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, few countries are wielding contact-tracing effectively. “By now, what I was expecting is that 100% of people coming in contact with COVID-19 would have been traced,” says Nyenswah, now an infectious-diseases researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.
Read the full article here.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S., the country is projected to face a staffing shortage in the healthcare industry in the next 30 days. Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Myles Udland, and Julie Hyman discuss with Dr. Patricia Pittman of Fitzhugh Mullan Professor of Health Workforce Equity.